Homemade Bourbon Apple Jam

With cinnamon, clove, and ginger, this homemade Bourbon Apple Jam is a fall essential that pairs perfectly with both sweet and savory dishes.

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Bourbon Apple Jam

The key to this super simple Bourbon Apple Jam is using a variety of apple types for the most depth of flavor. With just a touch of spice, the slightly sweet preserve is incredibly versatile. Mix it in your oatmeal for a traditional breakfast, use it as filling for tiny apple hand pies, or mix it with some mustard for a delectable spread on burgers, pork chops, and sandwiches.

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A small bowl of apple jam surrounded by crackers, with a stack of three jars and two apples behind.
Overhead view of bowl of apple jam on a bed of wheat crackers.

Picking Your Apples

Every fall sees a new selection of apple varieties. Sweet and tart, starchy or delicate, there are more out there than I can name. For best results, I always recommend using more than one kind of apple in a preserve (or pie filling for that matter). Not only does it deepen the flavors of the Bourbon Apple Jam, it creates a more complex texture.  Choose a few of your favorites, mixing up different varieties to make a total of 4 pounds. Then, as recommended in the recipe, taste your jam half way through. If too tart, add more sugar. If just right, leave it be. Remember you can always add more sugar, but you certainly can’t take it away.


Savory Apple Spread

I’m not kidding when I suggest turning this into a delicious savory spread. My original intention in designing this recipe was to use it on a burger, and it didn’t disappoint.

For a perfectly topped turkey burger, mix 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard with 4 tablespoons jam. Divide this apple jam mustard mix between four fluffy brioche buns, top a leaf of butter lettuce, a seared turkey patty, and a thick gooey slice of smoked gouda cheese. Trust me, you’ll be in burger heaven.

A pyramid of three jars of jam next to two red apples.

Bourbon Apple Jam

With cinnamon, clove, and ginger, this homemade Bourbon Apple Jam pairs perfectly with all of your sweet and savory fall dishes.

Course Appetizer, Brunch, Condiment
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, bourbon, jam, preserves
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Processing Time 10 minutes
Servings 5 half pints

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds apples, mixed varieties (I used equal parts Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raw sugar, to taste
  • ¼ cup bourbon

Instructions

  1. Prepare jars and lids as per proper canning procedures.

  2. Combine the water and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Peel and dice the apples, tossing the pieces into the water-lemon bath as you work to keep them from browning.
  3. Add the granulated sugar to the apple mixture, and stir in the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Cover and let the fruit macerate for at least 30 minutes on the counter or in the fridge overnight.
  4. Transfer the apple-sugar mixture to a large, non reactive pan, making sure to scrape all that luscious syrup out of the bowl. Bring the mixture to a bowl over medium heat, and reduce for 15-30 minutes. The mixture should be very thick with little liquid remaining. Carefully taste test – If too tart, add raw sugar to taste, starting with a half cup and increasing to 1 cup if needed.

  5. Stir in the salt and the bourbon, and boil on high for 3-5 minutes. Test for gel set and remove from heat.
  6. Transfer the apple jam to the prepared jars, leaving 1/4th inch headspace. Apply the lids and rings and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars to a folded kitchen towel and let them cool undisturbed overnight. Check for seals and store in a cool dark place. If any have not sealed, store in the fridge and eat first.

Recipe Notes

Make A Savory Spread: For a delicious savory spread, mix four tablespoons finished Apple Bourbon Jam with 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard. It’s a perfect addition to burgers, pork chops, and all sorts of deli sandwiches.


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